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Specifiers' Library Design-Build Specifications

Specifiers writing construction documents addressed by design-builders to their sub-contractors will find that specification practices applicable to conventional Owner-A/E-Contractor arrangements are equally appropriate to their circumstances. However, for documents involving communications and contracts between the Owner and the Design-Builder (or prospective Design-Builder) different considerations apply - the resources that follow are specifically addressed to those needs.

Documents referenced in PerSpective  BSD PerSpective (part of BSD SpecLink)

PerSpective includes "whole-building" functional performance specifications intended for early design phase specification of the design criteria for buildings. It uses the best available voluntary performance standards, includes references to all major U.S. building codes, and provides alternative methods of non-restrictive specifying where performance standards are not available. A global "switch" changes language depending on the speaker -- Owner to Design-Builder (as in an RFP), Design-Builder to Owner (as in a proposal), or Design-Builder to Constructor. The project scope is primarily commercial and multi-family projects, although any project with building "fabric" would be suitable.

PerSpective includes the design-build equivalent of Division 0 and 1, with contractual considerations based on DBIA MOP principles, but allowing DBIA, AIA, EJCDC, ConsensusDOCS, or other external documents to be referenced. It requires a separately prepared project program defining dimensional requirements, space utilization criteria, project mission and goals, aesthetic needs, environment, and similar criteria.

DBIA Manual of Practice (DBIA MOP)

Published by the Design Build Institute of America, www.dbia.org

This is an excellent reference manual for owners and practitioners about all aspects of design-build practice. Most chapters are also available separately. Some chapters that would be of interest to specifiers are:

  • DBIA 210 - Design-Build RFQ/RFP Guide for Public Sector Projects: Detailed background and practical application for a building owner or his consultant who is preparing a Request for Proposal for a design-build contract for construction. Specifically addresses the needs of public sector owners with respect to need for competition in the design-build marketplace.
  • DBIA 301 - The Proposal Process, Responding to RFQs and RFPs: Step-by-step procedures, with many examples from different types of projects, and discussion of the types of documentation that might be prepared.
  • DBIA 510 - Design-Build Contracting Guide: Compares pre-existing AIA, AGC, and EJCDC design-build forms of contracts with commentary and DBIA-recommended language for agreements and general conditions. Written prior to publication of DBIA's contract forms.

The "Request for Proposal Documents" and "Contracting Documents" portions of BSD PerSpective are based on DBIA's recommended practices.

APPA Facilities Management: A Manual for Plant Administration

Published by APPA, Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers, www.appa.org.

This is a 4-volume set describing the entire financing, design, construction, and property management cycle for major higher education facility owners. Part IV includes sections on project programming, design, and construction; other parts cover general administration, maintenance and operations of buildings and grounds, and energy and utilities systems.

This publication is of primary interest to owners, but it will be very useful to specifiers who find themselves having to educate their design-build owner clients, especially first-time or relatively inexperienced facility "buyers." Although this set was written by higher education facility experts, most of what it covers will be useful to the owner of any type of major facility. Specifiers should understand that it assumes a conventional "design first, then contract for construction" approach.

DBIA Contract Documents for Design-Build

From Design Build Institute of America, www.dbia.org

  • DBIA 520 - Standard Form of Preliminary Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder (requires DBIA 535).
  • DBIA 525 - Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder - Lump Sum.
  • DBIA 530 - Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder - Cost Plus Fee with an Option for a Guaranteed Maximum Price (requires DBIA 535).
  • DBIA 535 - Standard Form of General Conditions of Contract Between Owner and Design-Builder (to be used with DBIA 525 or 530).

AIA Contract Documents for Design-Build

From American Institute of Architects, www.aia.org.

  • AIA A191 - Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Design-Builder; two-part agreement and general conditions involving preliminary design stage and final design/construction stage.

EJCDC Contract Documents for Design-Build

Published by Engineers' Joint Contract Documents Committee, available from NSPE.

  • EJCDC D-520 - Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Design-Builder on the Basis of a Stipulated Price.
  • EJCDC D-525 - Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Design-Builder on the Basis of Cost-Plus. 
  • EJCDC D-700 - Standard General Conditions of the Contract Between Owner and Design/Builder. 

ConsensusDOCS Contract Documents for Design-Build

From Associated General Contractors of America, www.agc.org or www.consensusdocs.org.

The SpecLink Specifiers' Library is provided as a service to our customers by Building Systems Design, Inc.